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theflyingaccountant

Respawned: Building the Habit

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Now that my challenge has been set, here's tomorrow's gameplan:

 

1. Rise at 6:30 am. This isn't part of the challenge, but it would help to make the day go easier.

2. Drink coffee (should swing by the grocery store to restock, come to think of it).

3. Morning meditation.

4. Then breakfast.

5. Work then drive to NC.

6. After settling in, do my 1 minute run and get ready for supper.

7. After supper, CISA study for 15 minutes.

8. Update the budget.

9. Brush my teeth, update NF with my progress, and read a couple of chapters out of whatever book strikes my fancy.

 

 

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Just when I thought I was done for the night...

 

Still have to get in that 15 minutes of study time.

 

Managed to still get in 3 minutes of running at 5 mph. Managed to not indulge in a single beer. So right now, that’s one beer saved up. 

 

Also knocked out 4 and a half hours of meditation. 

 

Got the budget updated, too. 

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Day 2. 

 

Budget done. 

 

Did not run (I got 3 days per week, so it’s all good).

 

Gonna have to run for 8 minutes to make up for the beers I had tonight. 

 

Kind of in a mood. Found out that three kids in the school where I worked were killed. Don’t know why I’m even taking it the way I am. I didn’t even teach those kids. Maybe it’s just knowing that there’s this sort of suffering still going round in the world. Who knows?

 

Maybe that explains why two beers turned into 5...

 

And having to deal with some people that seem to go through their lives barely touched with this sort of darkness. I don’t know. Maybe they see darkness that I don’t know about. But all I hear is people talking about how annoyed they are with their roommates or it’s my manager who is complaining because we can’t figure out whether to retain the documentation from the day we observed something or if we’re going to pull from one of our samples. And I’m just like people are dying. I get a text message saying that a guy I used to go camping with blew his own son’s head off with a shotgun. Yet I have fools from work who are talking about how bad someone has it because he’s not making at least $75,000. And I don’t know what to do with all of this. And I just want to numb it some days. And I’m embarrassed to say all this, but it’s true. It doesn’t even directly affect me, but I keep taking it all in regardless, because if I don’t listen who will? 

 

I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Lots of people do. But we’re all hiding it. We’re all hurting aren’t we. And we don’t even know where to begin to heal. 

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I think people focus on the petty little gripes of the everyday because  huge systemic tragedies make them feel overwhelmed and helpless. It's easier not to think about them. It's like maintaining any kind of "health": people have to put the time and effort in to make things better.

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3 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

Kind of in a mood. Found out that three kids in the school where I worked were killed. Don’t know why I’m even taking it the way I am. I didn’t even teach those kids. 


That's still pretty close to home.

 

3 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

And having to deal with some people that seem to go through their lives barely touched with this sort of darkness. I don’t know. Maybe they see darkness that I don’t know about. But all I hear is people talking about how annoyed they are with their roommates or it’s my manager who is complaining because we can’t figure out whether to retain the documentation from the day we observed something or if we’re going to pull from one of our samples. And I’m just like people are dying.


I guess there's a couple of reasons. Work and everyday relationships can be legitimately stressful or annoying, though obviously staying chill and not sweating the small stuff is a great skill that many of us could benefit from. People might also have darker problems they don't generally share. Also, the amount of tragedy in the world is simply too vast for people to contemplate except for brief moments... now that we can access news and information from all over the world we could read about a murder every minute if we wanted to. But to what end? You'll go mad if you apply the same level of connection and caring to every world tragedy that you would to events and people closer to home. Personally I try to maintain at least some emotional distance from things I have no control over, because the combination of caring and lack of control is very distressing. But taking action can significantly mitigate feelings of despair and powerlessness. You could even pick an issue you feel passionate about and see if there's an opportunity to do something about it. Civic action for the win! 
 

3 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

Yet I have fools from work who are talking about how bad someone has it because he’s not making at least $75,000.


Yeah, it's not wrong to sometimes reflect on tragedies and other profound events, let them put our worries into context, and reevaluate what truly matters to us.

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Yeah, agree with Harriet that's still pretty close to home. And even if it wasn't it is still perfectly fine think the way you do.

 

The only thing you can do, is do your best based on whatever your experience & knowledge is at any given point in time. Do not take the weight of the world upon your shoulders, that's too heavy. Seek for ways you can help, or help others that are in better positions to help. 

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When you find a way to relate to these kinds of tragedies personally is when you will take them to heart. Those kids being from somewhere you taught would be enough for you to start questioning things like "what if it had been ones I knew personally", "what if it were my friends/family" and making that connection in your mind  can be enough to take it personally even though you didn't directly have anything to do with them.

 

Empathy is a great quality to have and I read recently about two kinds of empathy: first being the sort of person who takes on problems as their own and the second as those who recognise where empathy is due but can keep a wall in place to stop them taking on that problem as their own. This doesn't mean other people don't care when they go about their daily gripes, that may be part of their coping mechanism. If we were all to take on every terrible event as our own personal problem it would be nothing short of overwhelming and debilitating. I also read somewhere a hard life truth that terrible things happen to good people in this world and that can't be stopped by you or I, and I have witnessed this many times in personal experience. Sometimes there are things we can do about it and that is where we can make a positive change in the world.

 

As for some advice what to do right now I'd say don't bottle up the things that are bothering you, let them out by either talking to someone or writing it down to let the pressure out. Basically you sound as though you have taken this loss on personally and need to grieve over it, let that process happen but know you aren't alone. Feel free to PM me about it if you feel like you don't want to speak with people you do know about it, happy to help out.

 

Hope my walls of text can be of help.

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About last night...

 

This is actually one of the primary reasons for Secondary goal number 2. I’ve heard a few voices in the meditation community say that dark moods like the one I had work kind of like storms. When conditions are favorable, a storm appears. For me, favorable conditions for that sort of storm involve a little too much alcohol consumption, a few well-placed news articles, a week full of frustrating experiences trying to get this CISA/NASBA nonsense sorted out, and plenty of time by myself to ruminate and pretty much let my monkey mind run wild. 

 

Probably doesn’t help that, even three years after leaving the classroom, I’m still adjusting to office life and its myriad personalities. 

 

Today’s a new day, though. I woke up with some nasty indigestion. Apparently, not only should I not drink like I’m in my 20’s, but I also shouldn’t eat like it either. At the time, that pretzel covered in cheese, butter, bratwurst, and onion was delicious. Less so at around 3 am this morning. 

 

Still, I hung around in bed, managed to squeeze off 3 minutes of unproductive but still habit-forming meditation, and toddled off to the client. 

 

The day proper was incredibly productive. Got done, came back to the hotel, and banged out a solid 12-minute run (which puts me back in the black on my run-beer count). Partially this was to atone for last night and partially it was because, at 8 minutes, I was almost at a full mile, so I might as well go for a few more. 

 

Good news for the CISA. My persistence paid off, and they’re giving me a refund and switching me over to the questions. I don’t know how long that will take, but I’m holding off on Secondary Goal 4 until it’s gone through. 

 

Good news for the CPA, too. I’ve gotten some definite answers which means I can get back to making progress towards finishing those 24 hours of business classes. It will be slow, plodding progress (at almost 800 bucks a pop, those classes ain’t cheap), but it will be progress just the same. 

 

All things considered, today’s a pretty good day. 

 

Thanks, by the way, for putting up with the storm and for your kind words. These sorts of things seem pretty scary for me when I’m in them, but generally, the worst that happens is that a couple of lawn chairs get knocked over. Still, it’s good to hear that there’s some folks out there willing to listen. 

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Probably goes without saying that those storms are also the primary impetus for the Primary Goal (Cultivate a meditation habit). The sooner I can recognize when these storms are brewing and the more equipped I am to sit with these emotions, the easier it will be for me to keep from being swept up by them. 

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Brief update before hitting the road:

 

Last night was successful. No crazy breakdowns. Kept things under control. Still ate bad food (fried hot shrimp and fries) and had one more beer than I’d originally anticipated (three instead of two), but overall, it was a successful night. 

 

Got the budget updated. Got in a 4 minute run this morning, so I’m back to a 1 beer surplus. Also got in a good five minutes of meditation this morning. 

 

Going to be glad to get back home to my own kitchen and desktop computer. It’s so hard to do these posts on a mobile phone. That’s the main reason why these thus far have been written the way they are and why I’m not directly responding to anyone’s comments or interacting much in the rest of the forum. Once I get back to a proper keyboard, that will change. Promise!

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Good day today. Hit all my goals. Worked my butt off. Got the tea kettle on. Bout to practice a little piano. Not much more to be said.

 

The breakdown.

Main Goal.

The end: Cultivate a meditation habit.

The means: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each day.

The day: Meditated for 5 minutes this morning.

 

Secondary Goal 1.

The end: Cultivate a weekly exercise habit.

The means: Run at a minimum pace of 5 miles per hour for 3 times each week for a minimum time of 1 minute.

The day: Ran for 5 cumulative minutes.

 

Secondary Goal 2.

The end: Develop control over my unhealthy consumption.

The means: Trade runs for beers. Two minutes ran (see parameters above) will earn me one beer.

The day: Yesterday, dropped down to a 1 beer deficit (had two). My five minute run today puts me back to a 1 beer surplus.

 

Secondary Goal 3.

The end: Cultivate a habit of keeping my financial records up to date.

The means: Update the budget spreadsheet daily.

The day: Just updated it with spending from the trip.

 

Secondary Goal 4.

The end: Cultivate a study habit to prepare for the CISA exam.

The means: Study for the CISA exam at least 15 minutes per day.

The day: Studied for about 17 minutes now that I have access to the question bank.

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1 hour ago, theflyingaccountant said:

Yesterday, dropped down to a 1 beer deficit (had two). My five minute run today puts me back to a 1 beer surplus.


Careful with those beer deficits, or you'll end up with a liquidity problem. 

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Got a little bit of quiet space this morning, so I figured I might use this as an opportunity to review how the week went.

 

Definitely way too early to say whether I've developed anything resembling a habit (or have knocked loose any habits I'm trying to break), but all things considered, I'm happy with the way things went. The challenges that I picked are easy (which was the idea), so it wasn't hard to build a rhythm.

 

The meditation is starting to help. My mind is all over the place most of the time (see some of my previous posts for some examples of it going really haywire), and I still find myself even getting lost in the every day thought. I'm by no means in any sort of "control" over this, but I'm at the point where I know that, every day, for at least 3 minutes or so, I have some space where I can let it run around and maybe tire itself out. I'm starting to look a little bit deeper into some of my patterns and cravings. I don't think I'm anywhere near the point where I've stopped letting them wreak havoc on me, but I'm at least at the point where I can see them coming.

 

Instead of running 3 times a week, I probably hit around 5, mostly because of the whole beer thing. I'm not feeling any desire to get beer right now, but those cravings definitely come along later in the evening, particularly when I'm bored and/or ready to wind down the day. It's been much easier to step down my intake gradually and replace beer with other things whether it's playing on the piano, typing on here, drinking tea, whatever. Last night, instead of beer, I got donuts. It's definitely not ideal, but it's something. I still need to work on identifying what it is that I really want when I'm craving a beer. Sometimes, I think it's a need for comfort and soothing, especially when I'm upset. Sometimes, it feels more like a need for nourishment. I don't actually want a beer--I'm just thirsty. Sometimes, it feels like a desire to explore. I need change and variety and newness. I want to try that brand new IPA that I've never had before and tell others that I had it before they did.

 

...so maybe it's change and variety, but maybe that's also a desire for belonging and acceptance. I want to fit in with my other beer drinking friends, some of whom, if I'm being honest, I've felt disconnected from.

 

As for the budget spreadsheet...that one's actually been the hardest one for me. It's like that one last nagging thing that, if I can commit to keeping it up to date every single day, there's so much benefit I can squeeze out of it. At the same time, most days, I don't like the looks of what I see. Not to mention that it's not always the easiest to get to. My computer's all the way downstairs. The mouse is heavy and unweildy as is the keyboard. I'm wining, but yeah. It's one last thing at the end of the day that I just have a hard time talking myself into updating, especially when I've already been staring at spreadsheets for most of the day. Especially if it's just one receipt. Surely I can skip it and do that one tomorrow.

 

Which brings me to CISA study. I had to talk myself into doing that one yesterday. It would have been easy to just say "Eh, maybe the change hasn't gone through. I'll look at it tomorrow." But I know how that goes. Tomorrow would have been put off until the next day and so on. Besides, it's just 15 minutes.

 

Turns out that I do have access to the questions. And, interestingly enough, they're actually pretty good, and the system's easy to use (which kind of pisses me off infuriates me more that I almost got stuck with those awful PowerPoint presentations that were nearly 500 dollars more expensive). Good news is that, now that I know what to expect, it should be a little easier to talk me into banging out those 15 minute study sessions.

 

As for today...

 

Main Goal. Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each day.

How things went: Meditated for 11 minutes this morning with a guided meditation.

 

Secondary Goal 1. Run at a minimum pace of 5 miles per hour for 3 times each week for a minimum time of 1 minute.

How things went: Probably not gonna run today. May be best to skip since I've been running almost every day when I was in NC.

 

Secondary Goal 2. Trade runs for beers. Two minutes ran (see parameters above) will earn me one beer.

Where I'm at: 3 beer deficit

 

Secondary Goal 3. Update the budget spreadsheet daily.

Is it up to date? Got a couple of credit card accounts that need to be cleaned up. Waiting for some of my purchases in the week to clear before I dig too deeply into that.

 

Secondary Goal 4. Study for the CISA exam at least 15 minutes per day.

How things went: Nope.

Edited by theflyingaccountant
Updated at end of day.
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Way to go! Also with the CISA-related finding.


Hey, no need to have chores be less enjoyable than they are per definition? There are some pretty good (light-weight) mouses for less than 20-25 dollars I believe. :) Or do you already have that on your to-do? Every bit helps. I suppose the computer has to stay downstairs, but that's extra movement anyways :p

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13 hours ago, analoggirl said:

Way to go! Also with the CISA-related finding.


Hey, no need to have chores be less enjoyable than they are per definition? There are some pretty good (light-weight) mouses for less than 20-25 dollars I believe. :) Or do you already have that on your to-do? Every bit helps. I suppose the computer has to stay downstairs, but that's extra movement anyways :p 

 

Yeah, it's one of those "I'll get around to it eventually" sort of things for me. All I have to do is pop onto Newegg or Amazon or something, but given that a mouse is a little bit of a low priority item for me, it's hard to talk myself into pulling the trigger just yet.

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Updated yesterday's to reflect my results at the end of the day to make it make more sense with today's output.

 

Main Goal. Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each day.

How things went: Nope.

 

Secondary Goal 1. Run at a minimum pace of 5 miles per hour for 3 times each week for a minimum time of 1 minute.

How things went: Ran for 6 minutes. That puts me at a wash from yesterday. Did some partying since it was both the lantern parade and because I was helping a buddy remove a tree, hence yesterday's deficit.

 

Secondary Goal 2. Trade runs for beers. Two minutes ran (see parameters above) will earn me one beer.

Where I'm at: 0 beers

 

Secondary Goal 3. Update the budget spreadsheet daily.

Is it up to date? Yep. Including the credit card account.

 

Secondary Goal 4. Study for the CISA exam at least 15 minutes per day.

How things went: Nope.

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Aaand I'm respawning.

 

Pretty much completely fell off the challenge for the past week. Even stopped meditating for the last couple of days.

 

So I'm making myself sit here and type this out now before I decide to go to bed tonight before jumping back in there.

 

But I'm making some adjustments to secondary goal 2 now. Instead of buying back my beers with runs, I'm going to a maximum of 2 beers per day.

 

That's still a lot of beer that should not be going in me, but it's fixing the habit that matters more to me right now than anything else. And it's a habit that I need to fix.

 

I'm also promoting it to secondary goal 1 to drive the point home.

 

Meditation stays where it is, though.

 

Also adding Secondary goal 5: No computer games.

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Presenting: The revised habits. Challenge restarts in earnest tomorrow am.

 

Main Habit: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Why: Understanding what's going on in my mind is my main effort right now. Having a mindfulness habit is going to be key for my getting every other habits nailed down.

 

Secondary Habit 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a minimum of 2 drinks per day.

Why: I crave lots of things, but of all the things that I crave, alcohol is the one with the potential to do the most harm to my body and my life in general. It's also expensive as hell.

 

Secondary Habit 2. Do things with my body.

Level 1: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell per day after I get home from work.

Why: I need to move my body. Getting random cricks in my neck because I barely use my upper body at all is a problem.

 

Secondary Habit 3.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Why: It ain't gonna be pleasant, but it needs doin'.

 

Bonus Habit 4.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Why: The more money I can free up, the more resources I can throw at improving my family's life.
 

Bonus Habit 5.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Why: I've always wanted to learn the piano.

 

Bonus Habit 6.

Level 1: Study one duolingo italian lesson

Why: Going to Italy in January. Might not be a bad idea.

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Adding an epic quest to help me keep the end in sight:

 

Epic Quest: Get my private pilot's license and build up enough income to be able to fly regularly.

Epic Quest Part 1: Build up a savings of $20,000.

Epic Quest Part 2: Take care of my body so that, when the time comes, I can enjoy flying for a long time.

 

Food for thought: I added up the time out of my day that it would take to successfully knock out the minimum required amount for each of these challenges.

 

Assuming a barbell squat takes one minute (round up), the budget spreadsheet takes five minutes (provided I'm doing it consistently every day), and the Duolingo lesson takes 5 minutes, I would be taking roughly 24 minutes out of my daily schedule to make my life better.

 

I'm also officially declaring my allegiance with the druids. I can do that, right? Can I do that? I'm doing that.

 

New challenge. Day 1 Progress

 

New tweak to tracking:

Since some of these habits are so easy to knock out and I sometimes might get into a groove and just knock out a whole bunch (e.g. the Duolingo lessons), I'm going to track them either as 0, the limit, or the limit +. (So 0, 1, or 1+). No sense making this harder for me than it needs to be. The only exception will be the drinks. I'll count each and every one which will add pressure to not go crazy on the drinks. If I toss back 5 beers, I'm going to acknowledge every last one.

 

Main Habit: Meditate daily.

Level 1: Meditate for a minimum of 3 minutes each morning before work.

Why: Understanding what's going on in my mind is my main effort right now. Having a mindfulness habit is going to be key for my getting every other habits nailed down.

Meditation time: 5 minutes.

 

Secondary Habit 1. Control my cravings.

Level 1: Limit myself to a maximum of 2 drinks per day.

Why: I crave lots of things, but of all the things that I crave, alcohol is the one with the potential to do the most harm to my body and my life in general. It's also expensive as hell.

Drinks consumed: 2

 

Secondary Habit 2. Do things with my body.

Level 1: Do one barbell squat with empty barbell per day after I get home from work.

Why: I need to move my body. Getting random cricks in my neck because I barely use my upper body at all is a problem.

Squats done: 1+

 

Secondary Habit 3.

Level 1: Study for the CISA exam for at least 5 minutes each morning after I meditate.

Why: It ain't gonna be pleasant, but it needs doin'.

Study time: 15 minutes

 

Bonus Habit 4.

Level 1: Update the budget spreadsheet for basic daily purchases every evening before bed.

Why: The more money I can free up, the more resources I can throw at improving my family's life.

Budget updated: Yes.
 

Bonus Habit 5.

Level 1: Play piano for 5 minutes after doing my barbell squat.

Why: I've always wanted to learn the piano.

Playing time: 5+ minutes.

 

Bonus Habit 6.

Level 1: Study one duolingo italian lesson

Why: Going to Italy in January. Might not be a bad idea

Lessons studied: 1

Edited by theflyingaccountant
MAXIMUM two drinks per day. That's a critical distinction, buddy
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Hmm, not sure if this helps any but in the rare times I want to drink alcohol - I'm not bragging - & it's beer, I tend to drink less when I think of how 1 beer = 1 sandwich, so I can't eat as much of the tasty beer snacks (or something like that). It's liquid bread, and there are more fun things to have than that? 

 

It is quite expensive isn't it. I also had this thing for a while where I wanted to try ALL The flavours. Bad times for the wallet.

 

Your respawn looks good. The fact that you came back even better. Just keep doing it, your brain might adjust if only to make you stop nagging at it :p Well, I don't know if that works for you. TL;DR - Wooht!

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6 hours ago, theflyingaccountant said:

Adding an epic quest to help me keep the end in sight:

 

Yay for meta quests! It's nice to keep the big stuff in mind. That's a lot of little quests, though. I assume the secondary quests take priority over the bonus quests, you know, just in case you don't manage everything.

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8 hours ago, Harriet said:

 

Yay for meta quests! It's nice to keep the big stuff in mind. That's a lot of little quests, though. I assume the secondary quests take priority over the bonus quests, you know, just in case you don't manage everything.

 

Precisely. The bonus habits are a "nice to have, but am willing to ditch in favor of getting the others done" sort of quests.

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